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WinterPRIDE CEO picked as Grand Marshal for parade



Activist Dean Nelson, who helped put Whistler on the map with the first Olympic Pride House at the 2010 Games, will be leading the 2014 Vancouver Pride Parade as a Grand Marshal.

Nelson, who produces Whistler's annual gay ski week WinterPRIDE, is one of three Grand Marshals for the Aug. 3 downtown parade — the largest single-day celebration in Western Canada.

It is his second honour this year, coming on the heels of an Orange Pride Legacy Award in Sports, awards created to celebrate outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to Vancouver's LGBT communities.

"It's pretty exciting," said Nelson. "I was really surprised. To have both awarded in one month is pretty incredible."

The Vancouver Pride Society announced the three Grand Marshals for the 2014 Pride Parade at the end of May.

In addition to Nelson, Gwen Haworth, a queer trans filmmaker and community activist, and the late ted norte, a local LGBTQ activist who organized the first Pride March in Canada in 1963, were also named Grand Marshals.

"Grand Marshals are local, national, or international heroes who have done great things to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and create safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ community," states a press release from the Vancouver Pride Society. "Grand Marshals inspire us with their courage, conviction and dedication."

The Vancouver Pride Parade takes place on Aug. 3. It draws more than 650,000 spectators and 4,000 participants who march along the streets of downtown Vancouver in celebration of the diversity and spirit of the LGBTQ community.

—Alison Taylor